clash

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The nights are drawing in, and I’m in love with these clashing colours which take me back to happy memories of deliciously vibrant, colourful summer days.

© images by Emily Hughes, 2016

bloom

 

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© image by Emily Hughes, 2015

how to make a daisy chain

First off, I’m sorry for the misleading title (it is about daisy chains, but there is no set of instructions I’m afraid). And whilst I’m at it, I would also like to apologise to regular readers especially for the overload of family pictures recently. I hope it’s not all too saccharine for your tastes (but you know I can do acerbic just as well as I can do sweet, I think). It has just struck me with some force, this spring holiday, how they are at such a magical age; on the cusp of knowing, discovering the world – their world – through their own eyes as they are. So many questions and misunderstandings tumbling from their tongues. At once categorically assertive and desperately unsure. I’m painfully aware also, as they bow their heads and giggle about private jokes and shared experiences which are theirs and theirs only, how much I am no longer a part of that; how every troubled thought, or stubbed toe nail no longer requires a kiss and a cuddle and soothing words as they learn to regulate their own emotions. Don’t get me wrong; I’m also glad for this. Very glad, that they are learning to forge the paths of their own world and navigate through thorny issues like fears and friendships. But along with that comes a distance. A gap. Only small just now, and still easily overcome when troubles spill over into tears and I am needed. But it is there in the closed bedroom doors and the occasional quiet withdrawal of hands from mine. In the silences to my many questions about their day. And then there are the rolled eyes, the But mummy, you wouldn’t understand, and Don’t take that tone/attitude with me! altercations which are now part of our daily patter.

But still they want the hugs, and sometimes stories at bedtime. Still they want to laugh and dance, and share silly jokes with us at dinner time, even though I’m embarrassing in front of their friends. So those precious in-between moments – the ones without the sulks and the temper tantrums and the arguments and when I’m not so tired I don’t have the energy (and then I kick myself for missing them) – I just need to reach out and snatch them, every so often, and hold them close by to my heart. I guess the camera is just the way I know how to do that.

So, last week, we were enjoying the beautiful spring weather at their great-grandfather’s house in London. His unkempt garden had a rich crop of fine looking daisys, so my seven year old asked me to help her make a daisy chain, since she didn’t know how. I thought, Oh my goodness I can’t believe you don’t know how? It seems like something every seven year old girl should *just* know how to do. And then I realised, how would she know if no-one showed her? So I did. And we had fun picking the strongest, tallest specimens. I took pictures, and then after a while on her request I put the camera away, and we carried on until the sun got too warm and we went off to find some shade.

There may be some kind of tenuous connection in all of that, between daisy chains, life, family and instructions, or lack of. But it’s a bit hazy. And I’ve never really been one for tying up the lose threads into a perfect bow. I’m happy to leave some questions unanswered, and accept that sometimes problems cannot be neatly solved, like algebra. Life is a bit like hair, really (those of you who are female and/or have daughters will appreciate this) – no matter how hard you try to create the perfect style and tie it up all neatly, after a while some tendrils will always work their way lose. And really, in the end, it doesn’t matter at all.

 

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Edited to say: I intended to post this over a month ago, just after the Easter holidays, and somehow it never made it past ‘draft’ version. So apologies for the delay! I’m so jealous of that sunshine now as I type with my thick fleecy socks on, and a hot water bottle in my lap!

© images and words by Emily Hughes, 2015

powder puff dreams

I found this unusual flower on my trip to Sri Lanka where the hotel grounds were scattered with them. After some research I discovered they are from the tree ‘barringtonia racemosa’, otherwise known as the ‘powder puff tree’. They really do look like exquisite little powder puffs – dreamy, light and graceful. I love the way the festive shocks of vibrant pink and gold contrast against the creamy white strands. They look so elegant and otherworldly – like floating sea anemones, or delicately unravelling strands of silk – against the rustic earthy- grey concrete wall. I overlaid textures of crumbling Sri Lankan walls to the images to give added character.

  pink2  breathe, 2014

pink1dream, 2014

pink3dazzle, 2014

pink4desire, 2014

© images and words Emily Hughes, 2015

self

chrysanthemums

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woman

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self – November 2014, Sri Lanka

© images Emily Hughes, 2015

grace

 

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There is a quiet sort of grace in the gentle ebb and flow of the world around us; the sparse, sinewed kink of flowers against a stone wall; the comforting swell of a hilltop on a mountain walk; the twist of the dying roses’ sepal artfully languishing in an old glass beer bottle of a busy café. Even the merest ripple in a lake on a still day; the dense, deft weave of wild forest grasses, or the willowy elegence of noiseless pine trees [how many years have they stood, poised and calm as the wisest of shaman, hushed, mighty and knowing as we rush around like crazed ants at their feet, lost in the dark. They watch us bump into each other beneath them and curse and move on as they sigh and shake their noble emerald heads above in the clouds]. These are the things which quicken my heart and steady my breath. When so many big things are happening. Things I don’t understand; things which cannot be understood. I look for the quiet things.

 

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I wrote this post a few months ago, before I lost my way with blogging, and life [temporarily – it’s good to be back. I’ve missed it more than I can say]. I still find it relevant now; perhaps even more so given I have spent a lot of time recently reflecting on

intent

[in relation to my life, and my practice]

and

grace

[a word which emerged from these thoughts]

It’s heartening to know, coming back to my blog now to find this post, that I might have been on the right track.

Time to get back to it.

© images and content Emily Hughes, 2014

Spring candy

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For more Spring candy see here and here

© images and content Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2013

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